Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Simpsons Movie

I saw the long-awaited Simpsons Movie last night. Like most of the reviewers noted, several of the plot lines had been seen before: Homer needs to have an epiphany after losing Marge's favor, Homer must save Springfield from a pending crisis, Bart is being a bad boy. But the laughs definitely were still there.

My favorite thing about the TV show and also the movie are the subtle jokes that appear. Especially the signs in front of the Springfield Church (Thou shalt turn off thy cell phone, and We told you so). Albert Brooks was very funny as Russ Cargill, the head of the EPA, but I was a little disappointed "Arnold" was cast as the president when it easily could have been Simpsons regular Rainier Wolfcastle -- the voices were the same.

See the film, overall it is an excellent addition to the Simpsons lexicon. The reviews were mixed because the TV show has set the bar so high it is difficult to top, especially in a feature-length film. Could anyone really expect the show to stay it its peak level for 20 years and then produce a movie that is beyond that? I wonder if the writers ever thought about expanding the Simpsons story with the movie -- adding some new information to the history of Springfield? I also wondered why some of the mainstays, like Principal Skinner, Apu and Moe didn't have bigger parts in the movie. After 20 years, it would seem they had earned a bigger part in the movie.

I will purchase the DVD the day is it released.

Simpsonized and fabulous

I finally was able to make the simpsonize me Web site work correctly. Here is how I would look in Springfield.

Reporters don't deserve this...

A Kansas City Royals outfielder accidentally shot a TV reporter with a pellet gun last night. The player said he was messing around and accidentally hit her in the face. The woman apparently shattered a contact and scratched her eye.

Does anyone really need to have a pellet gun in the locker room? It seems like that would be as safe a place as anywhere, even with the press allowed.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Will we see it?

The Big Ten Network is airing classic Big Ten match-ups next month, beginning with the Ohio State-Michigan "Game of the Century" from last year. But will conference officials get enough TV deals in place to make sure there will be more than 10 viewers?

Indiana University officials are concerned, according to the Indianapolis Star. Maybe, if I'm lucky, I'll get to watch the same number of IU games as an Indiana resident that I could watch as an Illinois resident.

Welcome back to camp

The Chicago Tribune reported today Lance Briggs appears close to signing a deal that would get him into training camp on time. Briggs had said he would hold out after receiving the team franchise tag.

Media consensus seemed to be Briggs should report, rather than hold out, because he gained little sitting at home. Now he can practice, get in shape, and if Bears fans are lucky, have a monster season and get the kind of money he wanted. The question is will the Bears or someone else decide to give it to him?

• Another story of note in today's Trib: Charles Tillman signs a new deal.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Welcome to training camp

The Steelers started training camp on the right note:
  • Safety Troy Polamalu received a contract extension through the 2011 season. According to, the deal is reportedly worth $33 million over the next five years with $15 million coming as a signing bonus.
  • First round pick, Linebacker Lawrence Timmons, also signed a five-year deal. said terms were not disclosed. Fifth round pick, Cornerback William Gay, also signed, the team announced.

All of the Steelers 2007 draft picks now are in camp. The first open practice is tomorrow.

The Bears begin camp Friday.

Harry Potter update

Just for the record, Jenni finished the Harry Potter book in one day. Shortly after we arrived home after obtaining the sought-after volume, she read a couple chapters of book six (the previous one). Then on Saturday morning after a few hours of sleep, she woke up and began reading. Then after we ran errands for a few hours, we came home and she read some more.

While I was watching David Beckham run onto the field in L.A., she was reading. She said it was good. I hope so, given the weekend time investment.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Rites of Fall

The Pittsburgh Steelers begin training camp tomorrow. It is earlier than most other teams because they will play in the Hall of Fame game on Aug. 5 in Canton, Ohio. Good luck to new Head Coach Mike Tomlin.

Should I be wild about Harry? Part II

As part of my new experience of the boy wizard sensation, I ventured out at midnight Saturday with my fiance to purchase the book.

We went to a Meijer in Fort Wayne, not a place I thought would draw hundreds of fans. Parties at the public library and local book stores received all the press. The pallet of books was in the back of the store, but the line had wound through the aisles to the front when we arrived at 11:50 p.m. It was a surprise when we first came upon the line. It looked like there were only a few people in line, but as we noticed it snaking around, I realized the full magnitude of it all. There were kids dressed as their favorite characters, complete with make-up and capes, and adults equally as excited in their street clothes.

Meijer offered a sharp discount on the book if a customer also purchased $30 in groceries, so we decided to shop first and pick up the book later. When we made it to the produce section, I could hear the countdown begin. There was the loud higher-pitched children's roar, indicating there were only seconds left, and then the count: 10...9...8..., followed by another roar. I waited to see the throngs of people running to check-out but no one seemed to be in a rush to get to the front of the store.

There was still a line when we made it to the book section, but it was much shorter and moving quickly. Because I am about eight years behind in my Harry Potter reading, I went to the display with the prior books to find a copy of book one, but they were all gone. People with the new release were buying paperback versions of the older books.

My fiance emerged with her copy and placed it in our cart. I was more interested in the ending that had been so anticipated, so I immediately turned to the last page (I was not alone in this practice. I saw another person reading the end.) I didn't get it, so I don't really think I ruined it for myself. But at least I can answer the big question -- Did Harry die?

As we waited to check out, it appeared several customers didn't care about the discount. They quickly purchased the volume at the self-checkout line and left.

An interesting experience for me. My question is: Will there ever be a series of books so popular that they warrant this kind of hype? Single books will always be popular. But can another seven-book series come along that warrants release parties, long lines and eight-year-olds going to a book store at midnight?

Should I be wild about Harry?

The Harry Potter era ended with the release of the final book Saturday morning. Here is the infamous New York Times review of the book, which ran Thursday, breaking an embargo requested by the publisher. Was it right for the paper to release its review of the eagerly-anticipated book early? Embargos are a difficult issue. Sometimes they are necessary, and with all the hype surrounding this book, this one may be justified. But as for fans feeling cheated because elements of the story were revealed before the book was released, I have no sympathy. There is a simple fix to that problem...don't read the review.

Disclosure: I haven't read any of the Harry Potter books, but yesterday I purchased book one. It is on my list to read after I finish Angels and Demons.

I'm back...

After a two year vacation, where I explored the wonders of not blogging, I am back and refreshed. I am a news junkie, so expect lots recomended reading.